Jeff and the case of the $100 toothbrush…

My dental hygienist has been hectoring me for years to buy an electro-mechanical toothbrush. She promised better dental health overall and fewer sessions with the drill. Still, I resisted the honey being poured into my ears. Mostly I resisted what I considered an extravagant expense in replacing a simple $2 toothbrush (that the dentist use to give me for free every six months), with a several hundred dollar battery powered model that also required regular brush head replacement. Frankly, I assumed the mechanical toothbrush would last about as long in my household as the electric razor I tried and promptly threw away twenty years ago.

After not a little bit of consideration I bit the bullet and ordered up one of these sonic cleaning marvels that was on offer as part of Amazon’s big site-wide yard sale. I’m trying to be open minded, though the fact that I just spent $100 on a toothbrush still feels like something of a patently ridiculous expense.

I’m going to do my best to give this thing the benefit of the doubt. It’s got until the first scheduled brush replacement to show me its worth. If it proves to be a case of a fool and his money, I’ll be perfectly happy to go back to ordering 10 packs of old school toothbrushes from Amazon for $5. Or maybe I’ll just knock out all of these awful teeth with a ball-peen hammer and get titanium chompers. At this point I’m starting to think that’s also a perfectly reasonable long-term solution.

The sadists among us…

I don’t like going to the dentist. You’d never know it from the amount of money that I’ve dumped into my teeth over the last 20 years, but I don’t. That’s probably why I generally put it off as long as possible between visits. I’ve convinced myself that the most logical approach is not to worry about it until something hurts and then I can have the issue addressed. Yes, I know that idea probably compounds the issues and means more time in the chair… but at least those times are less frequent.

I don’t mean to imply I have a random phobia of the dentist. It’s not like being afraid of spiders or thing that lurk in the dark. I avoid the dentist for good reason, the best reason – childhood trauma. My reluctance to fully commit to a modern dentistry stems all the way back to the early mid-1990s. That’s when the old dentist I saw as a kid decided that since it was a small cavity, he could go after it without Novocain and be finished in a jiffy.

As it turns out, having someone drill on a molar without numbing it up first hurts like a mother. I don’t recommend it. You might say that I’m pain intolerant. Being the rational creature that I am, I seek to minimize painful experiences. Which leads me back to the original statement: I don’t like going to the dentist.

I’m sure they’re perfectly good people and that they have the science to back themselves up… but you’re never going entirely convince me that dentistry isn’t just a vast conspiracy of the most sadistic among us to inflict pain on the masses under their diabolical cover as medical professionals.

Happy pills…

Some pain is worse than others… while for most run of the mill problems, the standard dosage of ibuprofen is more than sufficient to dull the aches to a minor annoyance, missing half a tooth calls for something a little more substantial. Thankfully I keep every prescription I’ve ever gotten and usually have something high potency floating around in the back of the medicine cabinet.

For the last couple of days, my happy pill du jure has been oxycodone left over from the summer’s sprained ankle. To be honest, it didn’t just dull the toothache so much as it made it completely unnoticeable, which was just fine by me. To say that it improved my mood, even on a Monday morning is a profound understatement. Even with half a tooth missing, I was feeling downright chipper when I rolled into work. I can see how one might be tempted to keep these little gems on hand at all times. Sadly, my stock is now depleted and since I have no intention of turning into prescription junkie, I’m holding the last few in reserve for whatever great pain comes next. And when you’re me, you’re only ever a week or two away from a new and interesting pain. I write it off to the indignity of middle age settling in.

It’s probably for the best, really. If my mood were to improve dramatically for any extended period of time, I’m seriously concerned that it would be curtains for any kind of decent writing you might see around here. The best stories always seem to come out when I’m just short of being agitated enough to punch someone in the nose. Being chipper on Monday mornings just isn’t worth what I’d be giving up.


Some day I am quite simply going to have enough of my goddamn traitorous teeth and have all the little bastards yanked out and replaced by form fitted titanium. If it’s good enough for submarine hulls, it damned well ought to be good enough for teeth.

I have very nearly spent more time in my dentist’s office this year than I have in my actual office. While that is a very slight exaggeration, I’m confident that if I laid out the days, there really would be only a hair’s breath difference between the two.

I took two hours of leave today to go sit in my dentist’s office, get and x-ray, and have him poke his head in the room and tell me I need to schedule a root canal as soon as possible. He wouldn’t work on me today because apparently I have an infection to go along with the general tooth-rot. He won’t work on me until I have at least two days of antibiotics in my system. The kicker is, this cavity developed under a filling that he filled two years ago. As I recall, his statement was, “looks like we didn’t get all of it after all.” Thanks for the fucking update, genius. I’ve managed to figure that out by the throbbing in my jaw.

Today’s trip cost me $89 with another $40 or so kicked in by Joe Taxpayer through my oh-so-generous dental plan. I’ll be taking another flipping day off on Monday, so we can spend some quality time with two relative stranger’s fingers in my mouth for the better part of two hours. That’s going to run almost $900, not including the taxpayer’s contribution. That’s more than my damned rent. It’s almost two freaking car payments. Bloody hell.